Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad): Thomas Robert
3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name): Mokate
4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Green Giraffe
5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live): Laura Hamilton (I really think that one works.)
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning): Purple Sleeman
7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Kaar
8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Caramel Gingersnap (sounds like a porn star name to me)
9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name): Yeshua Cline
10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Smokey
Monday, November 24, 2008
Well, you haven’t seen much of me recently. That’s because there’s been so much life to live, I haven’t had a lot of time to talk about it.
Some of it’s been wonderful, and some of it’s felt awful. There was the funeral, and other family things, to talk about. Things I’ve learned. Things I want. And, just no time. I’m sorta keeping up with reading other people’s blogs, but a couple of times a week, not daily.
In the meantime, here’s something to help keep you all occupied.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It was funny. He's three years older than me, almost, raised on a different continent, sent to school in England. Our grandmothers were sisters; he was some other order of relative than cousin, but he's my age, and that's how we call 'em in our family. We have very compatible religious and social and political views. We got drunk together one night, very early in our knowing each other, and had a hilarious time, describing the things about which we were totally unjustifiably unreasonable, and finding out that we both said the same horrible things to our life-partners because of them. Genetics, I guess. He's been on my mind and in my prayers a lot recently. In January he fell down stairs at work and busted up his collarbone badly enough that it took three surgeries to repair it. In one of the series of tests, they did a CT scan and found a something, a one-eighth inch something, in the top of his left lung. That was in the summer. We both knew before the test results came back -- he smokes three packs a day. Last week, he had a quarter of his left lung removed. They biopsied some other parts of both lungs. He'll get the results on the 25th.
Michael and my husband get along well, even after my marriage break-up. My husband called me just now at work, and said that Michael had called his place because he's lost (again) my phone numbers at work and for my cell. His father died in the night. Terry had a massive stroke, I dunno when exactly, and got recovered enough that they moved him out of ICU and into a ward. He saw all his kids, and I think all his grandkids. Michael saw him yesterday, and Terry died 15 minutes after he left. His wife and daughter were with him.
We don't know yet when the services will be -- Michael's mother and brother are going today to make the arrangements. Michael asked if I'd phone my mother's one remaining sister, and tell her. I did, but she was just leaving the Sailors' Memorial after the Remembrance Day service, and asked if she could call me back. I said sure -- there's no need to rush this news. I'll talk to Michael tomorrow and find out when and where the service will be. The aunt I called today may not want to go -- most of the family's been fighting with Michael's mother since 1951, when she did something unforgivable -- married Terry. As I just told my sister, "That doesn't mean one wouldn't do the correct thing in difficult circumstances." If she doesn't want to go, I'll take the train.
I'm tired again. Inside tired, not body tired. Thursday was my Mum's birthday; Friday was my husband's; this coming Thursday is the anniversary of my Mum's death. Today's the anniversary of me having her admitted to hospital, which she'd never wanted, but I had no other choice. I had lunch with an old friend last week, and it's shaken up what I thought I knew about myself and my life. Had a misunderstanding with my best friend on the weekend, and that's always an ache. I need to leave my job -- it's lost almost all of what was joyful in it for me, and I show up and endure days at work. I might find that more bearable if I was getting paid TONS of money, but I doubt it. I miss, ferociously, the kitten I left in Texas -- if you're feeling lonely, bruised and overtired (I played on-line Scrabble with a couple of friends way too late last night), a kitten's a cure-all. I miss life in Texas -- feeling like this right now, I could go lie in the hammock and look up into the trees, which always made me say, "Thank you," to the Force in the Universe that makes them, or I could go find something covered with rust and grind it off and maybe make it into something else. That's restorative, meditative too -- although I'd never have thought that makes noise and metal dust and showers me in sparks would feel meditative. It requires total mindfulness, or it'll tear the skin off your fingers. Ask me how I know. I'm sick of dead people.
What I don't feel is any desire to reshape reality -- either by doing my control-freak-drama-queen routine, or by swallowing something that'll alter my inner reality. I'm tired. Not tired, tired OF. The answer to that is to pray for God's will for me to be revealed and for the power to carry out the vision I'm given. And to share. And to be grateful. Because the truth is, if it never gets any better than it is right this minute, that's okay with me. God's giving me so much, it'd just be churlish to assume I need anything else.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Okay, that picture has little or nothing to do with the content of this post, except at the end of it, I tell about him being a joyful thing to come home to. His name is Yeshua – he yelled so loud for food that I thought the walls of
This post is a letter I wrote to some friends while I was away on my trip. I was gone for a month, staying in northeast
Lots of times, I felt like an alien from outer space. I’m posting this with a few updates – it was written on the 5th of October, to people I know well. There’s language in here I use, but not on the blog, and there’s language in here that I’d never use, except I’m directly quoting other people, ones I’m glad I don’t know. Now you know – here be dragons. The rest of this was written within 24 hours of it happening, while it was fresh. Oh, and it’s long, too.
If I'd grown up in the country, my life experience would be different, but I grew up in the city, mostly. Just outside the city -- lots of forest around, but owned by the Conservation Authority, so you could walk in it, but you weren't supposed to change it in any way. And Dad had a cottage in Muskoka and went fishing, and I'm used to that, but never hunting. My life experience with firearms is this: Grampa owned a shotgun and kept it at The Lake (summer home on
So, just being at Bob's was already, different. I got in the truck one day after we'd been in the supermarket and moved the kleenex box on the seat and there was his handgun under it. I was looking for beeswax to do knife handles in the cupboards and there's boxes of ammunition in the kitchen cupboards, and I've seen long guns in the house, and dunno how to tell the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, so I dunno what I saw. The other night coming home, we hit a little armadillo in the driveway somehow -- neither of us felt anything, and he saw it when we were getting out of the truck, before I did. You could see how badly it was injured, and I said, 'You can't leave him like that,' but the little thing had died before he came back outside. And that was the first time I really understood why I had to know how to shoot if I'm to be able to live up north. There was no other kind option.
The gun and knife show was so out of my realm of experience; it was like a fantasy novel and I just found myself transported to another world, and hated a lot of it. There were handguns and automatic weapons tied to the tables, and signs up saying they had to be unloaded and tied so they couldn't be fired. What they were for -- handguns are only for shooting at people -- just kind of radiated at me, and I was, I couldn't even walk past the tables and look at them. I got to be able to spot those tables, and take a different route through the hall. The guy at the table behind us had a handgun in the back of his belt; there were people walking around with long guns in their hands and over their shoulders, and I found the people walking around holding handguns in the palms of their hands really scary. Some guys had multiple holsters and guns, and ammo belts. Sunday there was a guy who looked military to me, with a padded vest and just tons of pockets and weapons on his belt. It bothered me a lot, seeing women with handguns and short automatic guns. There were people carrying around plastic boxes, that I am familiar and comfortable with -- my husband had several of them for carrying cordless drills and things like that in -- and then I realized what people were carrying in them at the gun and knife show.
The long guns didn't bother me so much, esp. if they had a lot of wood in the stock. In fact, there was one guy who had some that were just beautiful. I went back to look at one in particular three times yesterday, and then this morning I told Bob it had dropped a hundred bucks in price overnight. It was still $1,300. But I didn't even know what it was -- rifle or shotgun, exc. it said 12 gauge on the card, and I thought that was a shotgun -- just googled the maker's name and that's what they make. I guess when it's time for me to need one, I 'druther have one that I liked aesthetically. And these aren't intended for killing people, and that made it easier.
I've stopped being scared of knives, because I've stopped thinking of them in terms of weapons, but there were lots there that were intended as personal weapons against people. Bob's got those little bearclaw knives, and they're pretty as jewellery. Saturday there was a woman who was looking at a lot of the knives, and she said of the bearclaws, 'It's a good personal defence weapon for a woman -- no-one could take it away from you.' Well, sure they could, if they had a gun, or were prepared to bust up your fingers for it, and I guess if he was okay with raping you, he'd be okay with that too. And I said to Bob after -- it reminded me of being told, 'When you're worried about what other people are thinking of you, remember that mostly they aren't.' There was a lot more fear, an assumption that someone would want to hurt you and you need to be able to, not just defend yourself, but make a pre-emptive strike, than I'd understood there'd be. I don't understand that kind of fear, and fear's been one of my best things most of my life. She'd said she didn't have enough money and would be back today and took his card -- but she didn't like that the one knife was called a Mill Bastard cuz it was made of that kind of file and he left the mark on it, and we think she looked at the website last night. Believes in Jesus in a way neither of us does, and Jesus doesn’t like people who use the word “bastard,” even about a metal file. Bob said he thought she'd see the prices were lower than on the website and not fuss about 'em again, and then we saw her a few times and she never came down our aisle the next day -- he said she'd seen the website and decided we were communists, and I said, "Yeah, it says so on the website, but it's prolly us likely being perverts that bothers her more." It was funny -- she was so friendly yesterday, and avoided us like we were Democrats today. He is, of course, and I would be if I lived here.
And then, there was racism. I'm not telling you there's none in
But in about a 10-minute space I was walking around and there was a guy with miliary memorabilia, he had uniform patches and things, and there was, front and centre in his display case, and big, a Swastika. Nazi memorabilia. Then I came back to the table, and there was a guy wearing a 'Beat the Hell out of Obama' teeshirt, buying one of the other guy's, and they were telling each other a joke they both already knew, about St. Peter greeting Obama at the Pearly Gates, and asking what he'd done in his life and he said, 'For the last 15 minutes I got to be President of the United States.' And they laughed.
And then another guy came along, and was talking to Bob, mostly, but me too, about the election campaign, and well, if anyone said he was prejudiced he was, and he was too old to do it, but if Obama's elected, someone's gonna assassinate that nigger bastard ... Bob was being a lot more polite than I wanted to be, but I'm so far out of my element I kept my mouth shut. Bob got him switched onto the handgun on his belt instead, then, thank God, someone came along who really wanted to look at knives, and I could interrupt that conversation and the guy went away. We were kinda afraid he was headed back in our direction later. For the next morning, I'd decided what I COULD say, if anyone started it again, but another vendor near us got sick last night, and the guy behind us moved his fucking teeshirts farther away from us and no-one said political or racist shit directly to us again. Maybe, I just needed to be prepared with an answer -- I can use it again while I'm here, if I need to. I’da simply said, “I’m not from around here and where I’m from a man wouldn’t use language like that talking to a lady. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy looking at the guns for the rest of the day.” We didn’t have any guns at our place. And if that hadn’t been good enough, I’da said, “That was in Canadian. It translates to, ‘Shut your filthy mouth and get it the fuck away from my table.’” I was glad it didn’t come to that.
Some of it was kinda fun, and there were some people who were just a joy to meet, and had helpful information for Bob. Saturday I had a jar of beeswax and polished every handle except the antler and bone ones, and a bottle of Turtle Wax and polished all the blades except the
I walked around Sunday, mostly to go say hello to another knifemaker who'd talked to Bob and brought him a little block of bloodwood, to be neighbourly. There were some people there with a jewellery display -- pretty bracelets, like little cuffs, with the sides made out of the ends of matching silver spoons, bent, and in between a coin or a concho or something else. Mostly bracelets spin around so whatever's the prettiest part sits against the inside of my wrist and no-one sees it -- this can't do that -- I'd never seen anything like it and I liked one with a Statue of Liberty dollar in the centre. I went back to get money, and the man put an extra couple of chain links underneath where it fastened so it'd fit better. Later his wife walked past our table and we talked -- they're from
It was exhausting, and when we left after it was all done I felt like I'd escaped. I'd been singing, "We gotta get out of this place if it's the last thing we ever do ..." We came home, used all the really bad language we couldn't in a place like that with family standards for the vendors, and I fed the kitten again – he was just getting interested in more than just getting fed and cuddled -- he'd look around when he heard noises and just spent ten minutes rolling around upside down in my lap, wrestling and nibbling my fingers like he would his littermates, if he was with them. And he'd been grooming his paws a little. Good signs.
He was three weeks old when I wrote that. This picture was taken Thursday night this week – he’ll be eight weeks old tomorrow. I miss him and it hurts like a sonuvabitch. There'll be more about the trip -- I did really good things and there were other kinds of culture shock. This afternoon, my son's taking me to see Passchendaele -- I've gotta go get showered now.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I want to thank the people who looked for me and got in touch during this hiatus. It started because I couldn’t stand to read one more word about the American Presidential election or about Lambeth. Just wore me out.
And then it continued when I found out on September 11th that I’d be leaving for
It was a HUGE culture shock. I will write more about it. I wrote down about some of it as it was happening, and I’ll reproduce here, with some pictures. While I was there, I learned to drive a pick-up truck without hitting anything; I learned why I need to be able to shoot something sometimes, and how to do it – with long guns and a lot of time, anyway, I can hit the target pretty well. With handguns, I anticipate the recoil and move and miss the page altogether. I can go out the back and poke through the metal collection and do something. Removing rust from sewing machine treadles with a wire wheel is VERY good for some kinds of frustration – if you don’t give the project 100% of your attention, you get hurt. I learned how to cut up railroad spikes, old files, and hardware cloth with a chop saw and a plasma cutter, and to put them back together different with a MIG welder – that was lots of fun.
And there was a 12-day old kitten whose mother abandoned him three days before I got there, who was being fed with an eye-dropper. I took that task on gladly. I fed with an eye-dropper and later with a baby bottle. I carried him outside and showed him how to dig little holes in the sand, and applied warm water while I held him over the hole til he peed in it, then told him how good he was. He started eating solid food three days before I came back. His name is Yeshua – when he woke up he was so hungry, he hollered and the walls of Jericho could come tumblin’ down, and almost all the other cats have Hebrew names, so so does he. I’ll post some pictures from the time I was there, and I’ll keep getting some and post them from time to time too.
Let’s see. I got scratched when we went for a hike through a thorny forest and I was wearing shorts. I stepped on a fire ant nest and got stung on the ankle. Got ringworm from the kitten. He’d hold the back of my hand for dear life when he was sucking the eyedropper, and I expected scars, cuz he always got the same place. But I didn’t scar. Took off skin and fingernails on the afore-mentioned wire wheel. Got burns on my arms from the welding, and once a big coal fell inside my sneaker and burnt the same foot I got stung on. And when Yeshua learned he could climb up pant legs, it didn’t occur to him that he shouldn’t climb my legs cuz I was wearing shorts. I’d be cutting up vegetables with the kitten hanging off my bare knee. Those are the marks on the outside. On the inside, I’m a whole new person.
Gotta go out tonight. I’ll post some of the other stuff on Friday or Saturday. Thanks again to everyone.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
What’s really the thing is, I haven’t been reading any blogs. Well, a couple. I’m checking in with friends every day or two, but mostly skimming. I’m so fed up with the
A Canadian federal election was called on Sunday. The Prime Minister went to the Governor-General, and said that the government was no longer functioning adequately, and asked that Parliament be dissolved. That being done, there will be a federal election on October 14th. There will be less than seven weeks of active election campaigning. The leaders of the parties get chosen at annual or biannual conventions – that’s already decided. And it’s decided by the party members, not the public at large.
I’m healthy and very happy – got good things happening. I’m keeping track of the hurricanes, and who’s been evacuated, or going to be. Praying.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
You know, I don’t know why I don’t tell you all these things first ...
Yesterday, I had an EMG. An Electro-Myelo-Graph, I think. It’s a test of how well nerves are functioning. I finally coughed up to a couple of people that I was afraid of something with my left foot. The toe’s been dropping, and I stumble on it a little sometimes – that proves I have Parkinson’s. It gets numb sometimes, especially in the middle of the night when I wake up, and the numbness spreads up the outside of my leg. That would be diabetic peripheral neuropathy – in the course of all this, I found out that I have had complete terror about neuropathy. It translates, in my insides somewhere, to, “They’re gonna cut my feet off!” Or it could be MS (I don’t know why) or the aftermath of a very peculiar traffic accident I was in years ago.
Well, my family doctor said it’s NOT neuropathy – that’s when I found out I was terrified. Could barely hold off crying til I got home. And he sent me for the EMG. My son had had one when he was about 9 and he cried all through it. You know how people tell you scary stories about how awful their tests were? A friend of mine told me it helped a lot when she substituted the thought, “This is interesting,” for “This hurts!” That made me pretty sure it would hurt a lot. One of the things I know for sure about physical pain is, we can’t hold on to a memory of it – otherwise no woman would have a second child. We remember THAT something hurt, but we can’t retrieve the pain.
That helped, while I was planning for the test – I knew that as soon as it was over it would be and stay over. Still, when I got there, I had this tummyache. There was a technician first – she told me another thing that was helpful. There would be a doctor there for the second part of the test, and I would know what the results were before I left. No waiting for a couple of weeks, fretting over what would come next. The first part of the test, she put little leads on my feet, one at a time, and ran an electric shock down the nerve. At one point, she left the room, and I knew I had a minute or two to get myself back together. I asked God to remove from me pride, fear, anger and rebelliousness about having the test, and about whatever the result would be. I asked to be okay with whatever the result was. And I prayed the Serenity Prayer – after all, whatever was the matter with my foot was already the matter with my foot – that wasn’t going to change or escalate instantly.
In fact, that part of the test was easy enough – a couple of the shocks were worse than what happens when I’m cleaning the stove with a wet cloth, and make contact with the electrical plug on top, but not many. That’s pretty manageable, too. It was frightening again when she drew a couple of lines on my leg, for the doctor to look at THAT SPOT with, later. (I didn’t ask about that; I just knew.) She asked questions about back pain, and if I’d fallen, and I knew that she wasn’t thinking about chronic illness, but about some kind of trauma – that made me feel better, for some reason. I don’t remember falling or banging anything.
Then the doctor came, asked a whole lot of questions – the usual kind about whether I smoke, and how long it’s been like this, and if I’d injured myself, checked muscle strength by getting me to push in different directions. He did a test where he stuck a little needle, like an acupuncture needle, into the muscle. Aha! The pain part was going to start. I’d thought there would be more shocks now, but the needle was a kind of microphone probe -- we could hear crackling all the sudden – electrical activity in the muscle. THAT was cool! And I could see the monitor then, and see what happened when he stressed the muscle during the test Some of that was very uncomfortable, but not really painful, and it didn’t last long.
Then the results. There’s some underlying neuropathy. “Underlying” feels like not something to worry about at this point, and my diabetes is very well controlled these days. What I believe I know about it is, there’s no way it’ll ever get better, but the very good control (and I’m doing it without meds now) will keep it from getting worse. There’s also a pinched nerve, up near my knee. That, he says, will heal itself, and take about a year.
All that was in the morning. I went home with the tummyache still – reaction. I scrubbed the heck out of the kitchen – took everything out of the fridge, including the shelves and baskets and bins, washed ‘em all and put ‘em back. Displacement activity. Said thank you to God, for the results and for not behaving any worse than I had – kitchen-cleaning as an anxiety-response is so much better than a lot of other things I’ve tried. Later I went out with friends – we sat outside til almost 11:30 and drank coffee and laughed. In the course of THAT, I got really happy – just-fallen-in-love happy, without having had the falling-in-love part. (Too bad.) That’s stayed with me, all the time I slept, and all day today.
So, everything’s sweet in this little corner of the world – I even had that yummy yoghourt again for lunch. I wish I’d thought to tell you all first though – I still operate out of the (mistaken) assumption that if I say the scary thing out loud, it will make it come true. I forget, turning the light on always makes the monster in the closet disappear, doesn’t it?